This month’s book for Bon’s Book Club was Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Anne Fowler. I was really not sure what to think of this book and what I did think was waaayyyy off. History buff I am not :/ I’m not even gonna rehash what I thought it was about because its quite embarrassing. Anywho, here is the description from Amazon:
“When beautiful, reckless Southern belle Zelda Sayre meets F. Scott Fitzgerald at a country club dance in 1918, she is seventeen years old and he is a young army lieutenant stationed in Alabama. Before long, the “ungettable” Zelda has fallen for him despite his unsuitability: Scott isn’t wealthy or prominent or even a Southerner, and keeps insisting, absurdly, that his writing will bring him both fortune and fame. Her father is deeply unimpressed. But after Scott sells his first novel, This Side of Paradise, to Scribner’s, Zelda optimistically boards a train north, to marry him in the vestry of St. Patrick’s Cathedral and take the rest as it comes.
What comes, here at the dawn of the Jazz Age, is unimagined attention and success and celebrity that will make Scott and Zelda legends in their own time. Everyone wants to meet the dashing young author of the scandalous novel—and his witty, perhaps even more scandalous wife. Zelda bobs her hair, adopts daring new fashions, and revels in this wild new world. Each place they go becomes a playground: New York City, Long Island, Hollywood, Paris, and the French Riviera—where they join the endless party of the glamorous, sometimes doomed Lost Generation that includes Ernest Hemingway, Sara and Gerald Murphy, and Gertrude Stein.
Everything seems new and possible. Troubles, at first, seem to fade like morning mist. But not even Jay Gatsby’s parties go on forever. Who is Zelda, other than the wife of a famous—sometimes infamous—husband? How can she forge her own identity while fighting her demons and Scott’s, too? With brilliant insight and imagination, Therese Anne Fowler brings us Zelda’s irresistible story as she herself might have told it.”
This book was…..meh. I didn’t love it and I didn’t hate it. I think the story just got a bit long for me. The beginning of the book, where the two met, was quite interesting and near the end where their troubles really start to go downhill were really the most interesting to me. The middle was the same thing over and over again.
It was really interesting to read about historical people that I have heard about, though know really nothing about. I’m not totally sure that is a good thing though. For example, I have heard of Ernest Hemingway, but really only his name. Because of this book, I have all sorts of unpleasant ideas about the man he was in my head. I know the author’s intention was to try to shed some light on Zelda’s side of the story of being married to a famous author, but I’m not sure some of the stories are really true.
If they are true, it’s a tough story to take in. The poor woman spent her life so unhappy and ended it in a mental institution. It was so hard to read her struggles and how she felt fine but her husband would complain she wasn’t a good enough wife because she didn’t cook and clean and instead wanted to dance and explore. Therefore, according to him and the male doctors, she needed to be in an institution to teach her how to be a “good” wife. All the while he was away in Hollywood cheating on her and living however he wanted to. Ouch, my heart hurts!
Also, she wanted desperately to be a writer as well, but no one thought she could do it. She had a lot of her writing published though, but always under the name of her husband. They forced her to put it under his name stating that she wouldn’t earn nearly as much under hers alone. Can you imagine how that felt? He got all the glory and she got nothing. Another ouch!
I do love that an author took the time to shed some light on the other half of the Fitzgerald family, Zelda. She went through so much as the wife of a famous author and no one ever thinks of the other half. I wouldn’t highly suggest this book, but I wouldn’t tell you not to read it either. If you know more about history and authors, I bet this book would be really up your alley!
Next up for Bon’s Book Club is Wonder by R.J. Palacio. I’m almost already halfway through it because it is an easy read. All of the chapters are 2-3 pages. I love books like that! It also makes me excited because this month I will hopefully have time to read a second book, of my choosing!
Have you read Z? What are your thoughts?